I can’t tell you the number of emails I receive that start out: “Hey Beth.”  “Hey” may be an acceptable greeting in person, but in print, it comes off a bit too informal for my taste.

But “hey” was put in perspective when I was copied on an email that was sent by a current member of an organization to its retired president. It began: “Dear a happy bunch of [First Name Last Name],” as it sought to ask for time and contributions from this person. Seriously? The sender is director-level and that’s how they chose to address a legend? Actually, I can’t think of any situation in which that wording is appropriate. I hate to think of how they communicate with their staff.

Text messaging, social media, emojis and inter-office channels like Slack have certainly loosened the formality around communication, but common sense and courtesy should still prevail. Leave the “hey’s” for when you run into a buddy on the street and keep the “happy bunch” lingo for when you’re describing bananas. How you begin your message truly does have an impact on how you are perceived.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: